John Grant – Pale Green Ghosts

A bold, distinctive and genuinely excellent record

Having quietly released one of the unexpected treasures of recent years in solo debut ‘Queen Of Denmark’, John Grant found himself having to record a follow-up in the gentle haze of public anticipation. Although initially intending to work with Midlake once again, who functioned as his band on that album, Grant instead found himself pursuing other avenues.

The luscious ballads of old have not been lost, indeed several of the tracks here top the majesty of those on the debut. However, the electronic music which so bewitches Grant now makes an appearance in his own work and, after some unexpected collaboration with Biggi Veira from electronic act Gus Gus, he was compelled to record the entire album in Veira’s native Iceland. ‘Sensitive New Age Guy’ is like a gloriously sardonic LCD Soundsystem, while the title track slowly seduces through its layers of sound.

Lyrically, there is a sense of wanting to get away from a small community, both in terms of geography and mentality, not least on ‘I Hate This Town’, which bounces merrily below a wonderfully acerbic message. Oh, and who’s that on backing vocals? That would be Sinead O’Connor, who loved and covered the title track of his debut and whose presence on its followup Grant is truly delighted about. Rest assured, his remarkable voice and grasp of melody remain undimmed and while it may not sound exactly as you were expecting, it is a bold, distinctive and genuinely excellent record.



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